Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl


Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl

biographical name

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Lord Cornwallis, detail of a pencil drawing by John Smart, 1792; in the National Portrait Gallery, …—Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London

(born Dec. 31, 1738, London, Eng.—died Oct. 5, 1805, Ghazipur, India) British soldier and statesman. In 1780, during the American Revolution, he was appointed British commander in the American South. He defeated Horatio Gates at Camden, S.C., then marched into Virginia and encamped at Yorktown (see Siege of Yorktown). Trapped and besieged there, he was forced to surrender his army (1781), a defeat that effectively ended military operations in the war. Despite his defeat, he retained esteem in England. As governor-general of India (1786–93, 1805), he introduced legal and administrative reforms; the Cornwallis Code (1793) established a tradition of incorruptible British civil servants. In the third Mysore War he defeated Tippu Sultan in 1792. As viceroy of Ireland (1798–1801), he supported the parliamentary union of Britain and Ireland. He negotiated the Anglo-French Treaty of Amiens in 1802. Reappointed governor-general of India in 1805, he died shortly after his arrival there.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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